In the first of our 16 team previews in 16 days, Emmet Ryan looks at what to expect from perennial underachievers Anadolu Efes of Istanbul. With ambitions in both Turkey and Euroleague, how will the talent heavy outfit fare managing both goals in the quest to lift silverware?
As the intro suggests, we’re doing a preview for each of the 16 teams in Euroleague in the 16 days leading up to the start of the new season. Regarding player movement, we are relying heavily on the wonderful Mark Porcaro’s work with his 2016-17 player movement database. You should all follow Mark on Twitter.
We are going through the sides in reverse order of when they take the floor in the opening round of games in the 2016/17 Euroleague season. The entire reason we ended up on that order was because we figured it would be cool to finish with the two teams playing in the season opener.
Coach: Velimir Perasović
Arena: Abdi İpekçi Arena (12,270)
Last season in Euroleague: 13-11 (6-4 regular season, 7-7 Top 16), didn’t make playoffs
Last season in Turkey: 1st in regular season, lost finals to Fenerbahce
Who’s new? DeShaun Thomas (Austin Spurs, D-League), Bryce Cotton (Memphis Grizzlies, NBA), Alen Omic (Gran Canaria, ACB) Tyler Honeycutt (Khimki MR, VTB)
Who’s gone? Dario Saric (Philadelphia 76ers, NBA), Elijah Johnson (Cibona, ABA), Birkan Batuk (Darussafaka Dogus, BSL), Ahmet Duvieroglu (Fenerbahce, BSL), Jon Diebler (Galatasaray, BSL), Nenad Krstic (Galatasaray, BSL), Alex Tyus (Galatasaray, BSL),
What friend are they on a night out? First to get a round in but way too flaky as the night progresses. Helps that they are linked to a brewery.
Oh Efes, what are we to do with you? On the face of it things actually look pretty good regarding the outgoings. Diebler never seemed to carry his form from Pinar Karsiyaka with him, Krstic looked to have done all he could do in that role, and Tyus wasn’t far off the same. Efes weren’t going to get any more from them, more than likely, but all three are almost screaming of potential bounceback seasons at city rivals Gala. Dario didn’t step up too much last year, pretty much staying the same reliable big time player he was a year earlier but without the extra progress one might have expected. Now he’s off to the NBA where he is going to get a chance to shine on a young Sixers team.
The incomings hold some promise. I’ve always been cooler than most on Thomas at this level but he can do a good job. Cotton is a hard read right now for this situation and it’s going to take a couple of real games to figure out what exactly he is going to do for Efes. The other two signings look really nice to me, Omic is reliable and functional in the non-euphemism for bad way. He’s the type of guy who can fit into a system quickly and get up to speed without hurting the existing flow on the floor. Honeycutt is that plus a bit more. Neither is an earth shattering move but both hold promise.
The real questions will be over how the existing pieces perform this year. With Derrick Brown, Thomas Heurtel, Jayson Granger, Bryant Dunston, and Cedi ‘Please use this guy more’ Osman all back there is talent here to hurt teams. That bit about Osman really can’t be understated. The past two seasons have seen Osman show flashes of brilliance but he’s always looked more likely to feature when wearing the national team jersey than the blue of Efes. He’s one of the most exciting young talents in Europe and has the athleticism to be a difference maker at this level. It’s not even close to being all on the coaching staff, Osman didn’t always do enough to make him the factor he can be. Now with a new man at the helm in Perasović, who is used to delivering big from a backs against the wall situation, Osman should finally have the right situation in place to make himself matter. Sightings of Furkan Kormaz however are still likely to be fleeting.
Fearless prediction: They are good enough to make the playoffs, maybe even the final four, but I’m calling Efes to come in 9th and miss the post-season.